Serious games for defence training: Using the location and scenario training system to enhance the spatial awareness of trainee submariners
Simulation Industry Association of Australia
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Rapid advancements in computer technology have facilitated the development of three dimensional (3D) computer-generated simulation environments that have been utilized for training in a number of different fields. In particular, this development has been heavily influenced by innovations within the gaming industry, where First Person Shooter (FPS) games are often considered to be on the cutting edge of gaming technology. 3D simulation environments built upon FPS gaming technologies can be used to realistically represent real world places, while also providing a dynamic and responsive experiential based learning environment for trainees. This paper reports on a study to explore the effectiveness of 3D simulation environments based on FPS gaming technologies to enhance the spatial awareness of trainee submariners in unfamiliar real world spaces. The Location and Scenario Training System (LASTS), developed by the Royal Australian Navy, was evaluated to determine whether experience within the LASTS environment could benefit trainee submariners on Collins class submarines. The LASTS environment utilises the Unreal Runtime FPS game engine to provide a realistic representation of the Main Generator Room (MGR) on-board a Collins class submarine. This simulation was used to engage trainee submariners in a simplified version of the 12 Point Safety Round (12 PSR) exercise performed inside the MGR. Five trainee submariners were exposed to LASTS and then required to conduct the simplified 12 PSR on-board a Collins class submarine. This mode of learning was compared to traditional non-immersive classroom teaching involving five additional trainee submariners who were also required to complete the same exercise inside the MGR. Results indicated that LASTS trainees performed the simplified 12 PSR more effectively than non LASTS trainees. There was also some evidence to suggest that the LASTS trainees possessed a better overall spatial representation of the MGR compared to those who received traditional classroom based training.